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By series: Bridge St  In Yr Ear  Ruthless Grip

It Takes a Village (from VOG)

Midlife, I
discovered I

was not
where I'd


parlor called
Etch a Wretch.

Arguments in the conference room
over numbers, faces,

the next

"work force action."
Just as suddenly

a curtain drew
over the last of summer.

Mariah Carey
on watching

African relief infomercials
featuring footage

of starving children,
"I mean I'd

love to be
skinny like that

but not with all
those flies

and death and stuff."
Legos with which

to construct a universe,
an "ant farm" for humans.

Post-toddler syntax
starts to emerge,

along the lower lip.

Red-winged beetle
against the dashboard's black

hardshell plastic
moves to a new

abode. Aubade
bade him well

to do its bidding.
I wake, having slept

with one fist clenched.
The HR officer weeps.

Vending machine
that rejects all coins.

Penmanship is destiny.
Ms. Gabrielle Mintz

considers the act of naming.
Lion paces

the rim of its cage.
Plastic figurine

of ape pounding chest
no larger than my thumb.

Flightless bird.
Irony only strengthens

that which it opposes.
Waiting for the IPO.

Old XL sweatshirt
grown tight at the wrists

constricts full extension
of the arms

when swinging
imaginary bat.

Full eclipse
behind gathering clouds.

Old stone foundation
of burned-out hospital

today is little

more than
a place to picnic,

historical marker
by the first chief surgeon's

lone tomb.
Outdoor kiln

at the edge
of a field of

belches flame

from old yellow bricks.

must remain with their baggage
at all times.

All the many muches.

can you paradigm?
A harsh wind

on an otherwise clear day
foretells autumn.

Helicopter sickness.
He gets out of his bed,

lays a blanket on the floor
and sleeps on that.

Moonless night,
the only

light leaking
from a basement window,

these trees
reach upward

into the dark.
By the river

the box eaters
kneel in a circle.

An effect of

luxury transportation:

Everything changes
but the sole.

Is your
web site

a secret?
What at first

coming down
the great stairs

appear to be


turn out
as we approach

to be
umbrellas wet

from the rain.
Like a rock,

the old
ad theme

Chevy trucks

to new
market share.

Rustle of

in the rain-heavy

Boy struggles
to pull shirt

over head.
The logic

of detail in dreams:
this desk

upon which I find

a check
in the amount of

At her name

she steps forward
upon the gallows platform

to hear
herself reprieved,

the camera's focus

to a head shot
as she again

descends the stairs,
the other

smiling prisoners

into the hazy

- the crowd gasps!

- we see silhouettes

in the air.
The carnage

of toy

spread over the rug.

with her arms
about her head

as if to ward off blows.
Voiced vowel

all over

the lake.
Problem of usury

prevents interest
by Islamic banks.

Clamor am
or will be

heard, hurt, hard
of earring

round solid gold
through the nose

cheek or lip
above / below

a body
of knowledge

slow to heel.
The caterer's plate

upon which sit
stuffed mushrooms

The world

is all that
has your face.


Goo Goo Doll anthem,

the old ball game.
Animal fecal matter

as origin of tetanus
(and as for the source

of this vaccine . . . ).
By the next morning

the balloons
no longer hover

at the ceiling.
Rabbit with the most pearls

must be
the oyster bunny.

Each day the wolves become bolder,
moving now into the outskirts of town.

With each gust, a new torrent of leaves
descends from the red-orange sky.

Month when the snails
go into hibernation.

A rune
of puzzles

playing back.
Lake effect syntax

converts meaning to sorrow,
glacier of intent (mucous)

tidal behind the eyes
draining like swallowing rope

thick where the knots catch,
fiber burn

against inner flesh.
Cellophane flower

upon closer inspection
has eyes, becomes

The course of true love

gathers no moss.
Tall, thin, handsome

African man,
high cheekbones, hint

of a Caribbean speech,
his skin a different tint

each time we meet.
Sun rising

over the canal
casts my shadow

as it writes.
The line, though brittle,

does not break.
Often I wake

as though peeling
layers of dream.

Soft clothing on a cold night,
the hum in the walls

of the furnace,
broken moon trapped

in the leafless oak,
deer at the garden's rim

in sheer silhouette.
Boy's voices

high in the far
part of the house.

Medicine as metaphor,
metaphor as medicine.

The grumpet in the moon
is found none too soon,

dinos in the bath alas.
Bells and whistles,

harlequins with trained monkeys,
the light in the hall,

the chairs arranged in a circle.
Another first chapbook

of slightly closeted sex poems
involving my friend

their teacher. The furnace
ignites with a rush.

First flurries. A thirst
not quenched by

a burst of citrus
searing the throat.

If the cape is an affectation,
the question remains "of what?"

Old man and the C.
Oppen at the rim

of his own party,
silent . . . watching . . . .

Behind which wall
hidden furnace roars

to heat the entire house.
Forest light, leaves

thick as snow.
Love your other.

Eleven exits off 95,
all there is to Delaware.

Moment at which
in the power politics

of marriage, Hillary
Rodham becomes Clinton,

becomes blonde, becomes
fashionable (con-

tact lens as
reverse scarification),

in return for which
she becomes what?

The torrent of leaves
arrives at an end.

Out on the porch
the smell of a cigar

smooth as suede
fills the cold autumn air.

The deference engine
will get us only

part way through the soiree
barely past the white

mounds of cauliflower,
the orange cubes of cheddar,

the rectangular trays
of steaming squares of fried something.

Sleep as desire.
Rising at dawn, waiting

for gravity to clear the senses.
Song of the toilet bowl

filling by degree.
Reference empathy irregardless,

child's cough
hacking in the night,

hallucinated sleeplessness,
low ash sky

clings to the trees.
The microwave sings

five short beeps,
hoarse song of the modem,

pattern recognition
as our own mode of grief.